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Concerns weak and injured whale in Norfolk river may not survive

PUBLISHED: 10:41 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:14 29 June 2018

Fin whale in the river at King's Lynn. Photo: James Lowen

Fin whale in the river at King's Lynn. Photo: James Lowen

James Lowen

An injured and exhausted fin whale has been seen again this morning in King's Lynn.

The whale which was seen in King's Lynn today. Picture: Chris BishopThe whale which was seen in King's Lynn today. Picture: Chris Bishop

There are concerns the creature may not survive after being first spotted in the River Ouse nearly 24 hours ago.

The infant whale was first seen at around 8am yesterday morning by the Cut Bridges where it remained for several hours.

By the afternoon it was believed the whale had made its way back out to sea but it was spotted again in the river downstream of the town just before 7pm yesterday.

It was being closely monitored by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) until about 11pm and was last seen this morning near the Cut Bridges at 5am.

A whale was spotted in the River Great Ouse in King's Lynn. Photo: Ian BurtA whale was spotted in the River Great Ouse in King's Lynn. Photo: Ian Burt

BDMLR spokesman Julia Cable said the 5m whale, with lacerations on its back, was getting more injured and has grown weaker.

She said the BDMLR will continue to look for the whale throughout the day and vets are on standby in case the whale becomes stranded.

“Until the whale is out of the water the vets can’t do anything,” she added.

“The chances of it surviving is very slim, we believe it is maternally dependent and we think it has been away from its mother for more than 48 hours.

“It’s a very sad situation.”

Steve Kingston, operator of the West Lynn ferry, said he had also seen the whale at around 6am by the slipway at Page Stair Lane.

He said: “It wasn’t particularly energetic, I get the feeling it is exhausted.”

Mr Kingston said he hopes the whale find its way home but said it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see a whale up close.

He described the moment he watched the whale dive beneath one of his moored boats as a privilege.

The creature was identified as a fin whale by the Seawatch Foundation and it is believed to be only the ninth time a fin whale has been seen in Norfolk in more than 150 years.

They are the second largest animal on our planet, with adults reaching lengths of more than 25m and weighing 75 tonnes.

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